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Case Study

Maintenance improvement of fuel storage terminals

midstream, tanks

Advisian supported the client in identifying the root causes preventing improvements in maintenance and quantify the business case for implementation of both RCM and a Maintenance Execution Control System.

The Situation

The Storage and Handling (S&H) Midstream business unit of a global integrated oil and gas company consisted of seven fuel storage terminals situated across GB&NI.  These were often in areas of high population density and designated as COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) sites.  Viewed as a cost center to support both the aviation and retail elements of the business, the S&H business unit had limited levers to improve financial performance of its operation.

As a result of the Buncefield Terminal explosion in 2005, the S&H industry as a whole reacted by increasing the number of maintenance routines on COMAH sites.  This was intended to support asset assurance and Integrity to prevent the causes of the incident from occurring again.

The client’s leadership team recognized that a significant number of these routines were not adding value.  It was understood that the technique called Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) would support the reclassification and reduction of the number of tasks generated and, by doing so, would allow the organization to gain control of an increasing PM and CM maintenance backlog.


A preliminary scoping exercise carried out on valve maintenance activities identified that an RCM approach could reduce maintenance on this asset class by up to 88 percent.  However, it also revealed a lack of robust and integrated work management processes, together with an ineffective and inconsistent management system across the business unit.  Without a functioning Execution Control System (ECSSM), Advisian recognized that it would be very difficult for the organization to implement the findings of any RCM studies.

Our Approach

We next proposed a four-week analysis across six of the seven terminals, focusing on:

  • Maintenance effectiveness
  • Productivity and contractor management ECSSM and planning
  • CMMS set up and data integrity  

This was followed by a 10-week mobilization phase at the pilot location to develop a set of works management and execution processes, supported by an effective ECSSM (including consistent KPIs and meeting structure for reporting across the business unit) and a remapped CMMS that could be rolled out across the business. In addition, preparatory RCM activities were conducted to identify suitable candidates for studies and removal of clear nonvalue-add routines/task cards.

Key Findings and Recommendations

A legacy CMMS lacked the appropriate architecture, data accuracy and integrity to provide meaningful management information with which to drive the business.  There was a lack of standardization across the terminals in the capture and categorization of data, preventing any meaningful performance management or allowing terminals to share information or any best practices.

There was only limited formalized planning for the short term and a complete lack of medium and longer term planning.  This resulted in poor work execution and supervision (contributing to 58 to 65 percent nonvalue-added work time), despite a reasonably well managed set of contractor management processes and a motivated workforce. Impactability workshops identified a potential reduction in nonvalue-add working activities that could increase working time up to five and a half hours of an eight-hour shift.

Pre-RCM studies (built upon the scoping activities) indicated that the opportunity to reduce frequency or eliminate low and nonvalue-add activities was estimated to impact 71 percent of weekly to six-month frequency tasks in the selected (non-safety critical) categories.

In summary, the majority of the PM routines generated were seen as nonvalue-adding. These were having a significant impact on the effectiveness of an already overburdened maintenance organization.  The organization recognized both a lack of standards and policies, together with an inconsistent approach to maintenance planning and execution across the seven terminals, as contributing factors to poor maintenance efficiency.  Inconsistent management systems and a lack of KPIs to drive the business were allowing the organization to stay in the firefighting mode and react to “today’s urgent issue,” rather than the most important maintenance and operations demands.

Without addressing these issues, it was recognized that the organization would not be able to realize the benefits of improved maintenance effectiveness delivered through RCM.


The Business Case for delivery of RCM studies supported by the implementation of ECSSM at the pilot terminal amounted to £221,000 to £434,000.  The installation of a new daily maintenance meeting showcased how the use of properly selected KPIs can effectively drive behavior change and provided quick wins in the form of:

  • Visibility of actual daily work load and liquidation
  • Enabling better daily plan loading
  • Better understanding of incomplete work and when it can be rescheduled Impact of break-ins quantified and sources understood

This was just one element of a new Maintenance ECSSM designed to support the management of works from planning through to close-out.